HSJ in the morning: Power play should serve as Wings’ enforcer

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted her customary early-morning column today, discussing the Red Wings’ 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins and their 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. As St. James notes, the Red Wings were pushed around by both the B’s and Capitals, and as Detroit’s not able to match their opponents hit-for-hit, the Wings’ power play must serve as Detroit’s enforcer:

A power play is an opportunity to punish a foe for a transgression, but the only ones feeling remorse are the Detroit Red Wings themselves. They begin the first week of a new year humbled by two losses at home, welcoming  2022 with a 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins two days after ringing out 2021 with a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Coach Jeff Blashill noted after Sunday’s matinee at Little Caesars Arena that the Bruins, “want to bully you, that’s how they are, and I didn’t think we fought hard enough for ourselves.”

Captain Dylan Larkin put it similarly: “It was a physical game. It was a physical game against Washington, and I’ve really felt that when it’s gotten physical we’ve just been kind of been mediocre. We need to push back when it gets physical.”

The Wings were outshot 37-24 against the Bruins, and 27-20 against the Capitals. Goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Alex Nedeljkovic did what they could, but Nedeljkovic couldn’t withstand the egregious defensive blunders that led the Bruins to a three-goal third period.

Beyond being pushed around, the Wings’ big failure has been on the power play — they were 0-for-3 against Washington, and 0-for-4 against the Bruins. All four power plays against Boston came while it was either a tied or one-goal game. On one of the man advantages, the Bruins had possession for the entirety of the first minute, and the Wings never registered a shot on net.

“We didn’t execute, didn’t even get shots,” Larkin said. “They had the puck. We have to find a way to get to our spots and when the puck is on our stick, we can’t force it. We forced it way too much. We had way too many plays get broken up just by forcing it, not moving it around the outside to get our spots to get the shots.

“We didn’t have pushback. The power play would have been key to come back. That third period, we were way too passive. We pushed but we gave up chances going the other way, and we can’t do that. We have to come up with more of a team effort offensively and score on them and pin them in and make it hard on their D, and we just didn’t do that in the third period.”

Continued (paywall)

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

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